The coronavirus pandemic could permanently change how many bankers make the daily trudge into tightly packed city centre offices, Barclays bank chief executive Jes Staley said. The bank, which like companies worldwide has seen the majority of its staff work from home or backup sites, will not revert fully to its pre-January working habits. “There will be a long-term adjustment in how we think about our location strategy – the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past,” Staley said. Staff including investment bankers could, said the CEO, work instead from branches as well as other locations. Barclays plans to reopen its Hong Kong office first before other Asian hubs such as Singapore and Tokyo, and then Europe.
Shopify, best known for powering the online stores of more than 1 million businesses, is launching a consumer shopping app of its own today, simply called Shop. The app is actually an update and rebrand of Arrive, an app for tracking packages from Shopify merchants and other retailers, which the company says has been used by 16 million consumers already. Shop includes those same package tracking capabilities, but it also allows consumers to browse a feed of recommended products, learn more about each brand and make purchases using the one-click Shop Pay checkout process. The current COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis prompted Shopify to ask “What are the things we can today to best support merchants?” One of their answers is a feature that allows shoppers to browse local merchants, see which ones currently support delivery and in-store purchase, then make purchases to support them.
The new advertising campaign for the Portal From Facebook video-calling devices salutes mothers and their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic as Mother’s Day approaches. Facebook said the integrated campaign will include a new television spot, digital content (both on- and off-Facebook) and partnerships with a wide range of mothers sharing their stories from both the front lines of the battle against Covid-19 and their homes.
Social media platform TikTok has announced the launch of a new, interactive feature, Donation Stickers, that creators can use on their videos and live streams in order to raise funds for charities directly in the TikTok app. At launch, these stickers will work to support charitable partners including CDC Foundation, James Beard Foundation, Meals on Wheels, MusiCares, National PTA, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, No Kid Hungry and The Actors Fund. When a user taps on the sticker, they’ll be guided to a pop-up window where they can make a donation to the charity the creator is fundraising for, without having to leave the TikTok app. The donations are powered by charitable fundraising platform Tiltify which handles the payment processing for the donation transactions. Tiltify has experience with donation features embedded in live streams, having previously worked with the Twitch platform on various initiatives.
In the cryptocurrency industry, companies such as BitMEX, Binance and the Stellar Foundation have been making sizable donations to COVID-19 relief funds. OnJanuary 25 Changpeng Zhao, CEO of top-ranking crypto exchange Binance, announced in a tweet that his company has pledged to donate $1.5 million (10M RMB) to help the victims of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Through Binance Charity, a nonprofit blockchain-powered donation arm of the company, an initiative titled “Binance for Wuhan” kicked off by supplying 20,000 testing kits, 366,000 pairs of gloves, 5,280 bottles of hand sanitizer and 388 oxygen concentrators among other kinds of supplies. Binance Charity went further, announcing a new fundraising project that aimed to tackle the coronavirus globally. The company aims to raise $5 million in cryptocurrencies that would go toward buying medical supplies for countries most affected by COVID-19. Helen Hai, the head of Binance Charity, said: “The most important element of human life is to show compassion and help others as we can, without the limitation or restriction of borders.” The Stellar Development Foundation has announced the launch of the XLM-donation-matching program powered by Stellar-based Lumentrhopy, a fundraiser that helps charitable organizations accept Stellar Lumens. One of the nonprofits, with which the SDF plans to match donations, is with the Tor Project. Reports indicated that SDF is set to match donations to a total of $79,300, which adds up to about 1.9 million XLM tokens. The Stellar Development Fund will also match donations to Unicef France; Heifer International, an organization fighting hunger through offering support for small scale farmers; and Watsi, a nonprofit that streamlines health care financing through building technology. The Giving Block, a company that helps nonprofit charitable organizations accept crypto donations, has announced the start of its #cryptoCOVID19 alliance. The initiative wants to unite the crypto community in the fight against the coronavirus. Gitcoin, one of the partners in the campaign, kicked off the donation by matching $100,000 in Ether (ETH) on the Daiplatform. The Giving Block has also partnered with the likes of Brave, Gemini andAxiom Financeto raise $500,000 in crypto donations. Ripple Labs has announced a donation of $200,000; $100,000 to the Tipping Point Community, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, which later raised the total donation to $1.1 million for victims of the coronavirus in the U.S. Ripple Lab’s donations will also go to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a dedicated regional fund in response to the coronavirus outbreak in Silicon Valley. BitMEX, the derivatives exchange backed by Arthur Hayes, recently announced that it is donating a total of $2.5 million in support of the fight against the coronavirus. In an announcement, BitMEX stated that the funds will be directed to four organizations at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. These organizations include a biosecurity program called the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Gates Philanthropy Partners, Our World in Data and OpenMinded. Golem, a computing network, is another contributor from the crypto sector to join the fight against COVID-19 through the Folding@Homes project. Golem and blockchain platform Tezos have set aside hundreds of Tezos coins (XTZ) that will be given to the biggest F@H donor by the end of April. Another major contributor to the initiative is Ether miner CoreWeave, which has donated computational power of about 6,000 GPUs. Nvidia has also contributed toward the project by urging gamers to donate unutilized GPU computing resources. Blockchain company Bitfury announced on March 31 that the Amsterdam-based firm had dedicated some of its GPU computer nodes to the “Folding@Home” research project to help organizations look into the coronavirus. And bockchain company Real Items announced that it would be working with microfiber manufacturer Tricol Group’s factories in Seattle and China to track the authenticity of their production of KN95 masks using blockchain technology. The United States Food and Drug Administration had recently approved the use of KN95 masks for health care workers, which are manufactured in accordance with Chinese rather than American standards, as N95 masks are becoming increasingly hard to find.